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TOP TOMATOES

With tomatoes in mind, Rob Smith offers some timely tips on sowing and showcases some of the varieties he loves to grow
There are many varieties of tomato, so think what you want from them before you choose which to grow

I always remember my granddad growing tomatoes in his old greenhouse when I was a child.The thought reminds me of summer with hours spent in the warm sun, picking the ripe fruit, and it brings a huge smile to my face even now.

I don’t have many gardening friends who don’t grow at least one type of tomato, be it in a hanging basket at the front of the house, or as a cordon in the greenhouse.There is certainly a type of tomato for every situation and for every taste.

Garden tomatoes, the ones you and I grow and eat (Solanum lycopersicum) are part of the nightshade family, the same as aubergines and potatoes.There are literally hundreds of varieties, all with different growth habits and differing uses.That’s why it’s best to decide what you will use your tomatoes for before you start to grow them.

I like to grow a whole mix of types and varieties as they come in handy for so many dishes, be it a sweet cherry for snacking from a basket, to a huge cooker to make pasta sauces. Most people are now used to the idea that different potatoes are best used for different things, be it mash, chips or jackets. Well, tomatoes are pretty much the same, with smaller, sweeter varieties being great for snacking and salads, while the larger, savoury types are bland and spongy when eaten raw, yet they transform into amazing sauces and soups when cooked.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden... - Win gardening goodies Instant garden borders & more worth £1325 - Curry night grown by you - For the love of veg 10 pages of red hot growing advice - 27 big crops for tiny plots - Veggies from a jam jar - Prepare for spring 3 pages of essential top tips - 10 ways to boost your harvest - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall